In Final Days in Office, Virginia Governor Extends Express Lanes at No Cost to Taxpayers
"Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced a deal [Jan. 10] that will add 10 more miles of express lanes to the Interstate 95 corridor, expanding the system of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes to Fredericksburg by 2022," reports Luz Lazo on Jan. 10 for The Washington Post. Construction of the two reversible lanes will begin in spring 2019.
“This deal will not require any upfront taxpayer investment for construction, and will provide $277 million by the time the express lanes are open that will be invested in the corridor to advance critical transportation projects,” McAuliffe told the Commonwealth Transportation Board on Wednesday morning.
The $277 million will come from Transurban, the Australian company that operates the 95 and 495 express lanes and will be used "to cover costs of a bridge over the Rappahannock River and other improvements along the corridor...," adds Lazo.
[The deal] builds on McAuliffe’s transportation legacy, greatly focused on expanding tolling facilities to relieve traffic in some of the state’s most congested corridors and generating funds for other transportation projects.
McAuliffe served his final day in office on Saturday after serving four years, handing over the reins of government to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat. Governors in Virginia are limited by the state constitution to serving one consecutive term.
About 45 miles of express lanes have opened on interstates 495 and 95 within the past five years, and the state last month opened another 10 miles of HOT lanes on Interstate 66, inside the Capital Beltway.
And construction is also underway this year along an eight-mile stretch of Interstate 395, where today’s high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are being converted into toll lanes.
“When I took office four years ago, I made a commitment to radically change how we do transportation in Virginia,” said Governor McAuliffe in a Virginia Department of Transportation press release that provides a comprehensive description of the project.
Hat tip to AASHTO Daily Transportation Update.